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Anna Hazare Begins Hunger Strike as All Efforts By Maharashtra Govt to Pacify Him Fail

Cabinet minister Girish Mahajan said the decision to bring the office of Maharashtra Chief Minister under the jurisdiction of Lokayukta was taken to fulfill the demand made by Anna Hazare. But the latter said his demand is for Lokpal at the Centre.

Vinaya Deshpande | CNN-News18

Updated:January 30, 2019, 4:31 PM IST
Anna Hazare Begins Hunger Strike as All Efforts By Maharashtra Govt to Pacify Him Fail
(Image: Prashant Ramdas/News18)

Mumbai:The Maharashtra cabinet took a significant decision on Tuesday – of including the Chief Minister’s Office and the Opposition leader under the ambit of Lokayukta. The step was taken just a day before social crusader Anna Hazare sat on indefinite hunger strike.

The aim was clearly to placate him, as none of the other measures seemed to have pleased the octogenarian. But this move also proved to be of little help. Earlier in the day, cabinet minister Girish Mahajan cancelled his visit to Ralegan Siddhi after Hazare indicated that the visit will not deter his decision.

“What will he do by coming here? He is the minister of Maharashtra government. My demand concerns the central government. What I am seeking is out of his purview. It does not come under his jurisdiction,” Anna told the reporters. Sometime later, the minister called off his visit.

Days before the CMO was brought under the Lokayukta’s ambit, Girish Mahajan, senior cabinet minister and Maharashtra CM’s man Friday, had met Hazare. But the talks yielded no results. Then, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis himself tried to convince the social activist by talking to him over the phone.

But Hazare’s terse reply was that the BJP government had failed to act despite giving him a written assurance nine months ago at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan.

On Wednesday, the Maharashtra government only hoped that Hazare would take back his agitation. “He is already frail. Almost 80 per cent of his demands have been fulfilled. We are worried about his health. He should take back his protest,” Mahajan told reporters in Mumbai.

On Tuesday, he had announced how the state cabinet had ratified the decision to bring the CMO under the Lokayukta’s ambit. “The chief minister too can be probed as per the amendment to the existing law. The Lokayukta can hold the hearing in-camera. This amendment is a move towards a transparent and corruption-free governance,” Mahajan told reporters.

Mahajan added that the decision was taken to fulfill the demand made by Hazare. But Anna didn’t seem to be impressed with the move and said his demand was for Lokpal at the Centre.

“I am sitting on hunger strike for the welfare of the people. I am not doing this in support of some political party, or in opposition of any political party. This is in the country’s interest. I want people to know that the Modi government has been misleading them. Sometimes Modi says the opposition leader is not there, sometimes he says that legal experts are not there. This is misguiding the people,” said the 81-year-old.

“If the government really had the intention of bringing in the Lokpal or Lokayukta, it wouldn’t have taken more than three days. It has been more than five years now. What is the government waiting for? This only shows that the government doesn’t have the intention of bringing in the bill. It has been finding reasons to postpone it,” Hazare told reporters at Ralegan Siddhi before starting his hunger strike.

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